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Healing of full-thickness defects of the articular cartilage in rabbits using fibroblast growth factor-2 and a fibrin sealant

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We have investigated in vitro the release kinetics and bioactivity of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) released from a carrier of fibrin sealant. In order to evaluate the effects of the FGF-2 delivery mechanism on the repair of articular cartilage, full-thickness cylindrical defects, 5 mm in diameter and 4 mm in depth, which were too large to undergo spontaneous repair, were created in the femoral trochlea of rabbit knees. These defects were then filled with the sealant.

Approximately 50% of the FGF-2 was released from the sealant within 24 hours while its original bioactivity was maintained. The implantation of the fibrin sealant incorporating FGF-2 successfully induced healing of the surface with hyaline cartilage and concomitant repair of the subchondral bone at eight weeks after the creation of the defect.

Our findings suggest that this delivery method for FGF-2 may be useful for promoting regenerative repair of full-thickness defects of articular cartilage in humans.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor Y. Hiraki; e-mail: hiraki@frontier.kyoto-u.ac.jp

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